Archive for the ‘2014 League of Six’ Category

Fuck 2014

2014 was the worst year of my life (so far, I guess). December 31st, 2013, I made calzones, watched a compilation of the best vines of 2013, and then spent the night throwing up. The next day I thought calzones had been a poor choice. The next week I thought I had the flu. The next month I thought I was probably going to die.

SURPRISE! I didn’t. But spending months as a medical mystery, dealing with doctor’s bills, medicine side effects, endless tests, and trying to get enough nutrients to not be hospitalized would take its toll on anyone. Thankfully, I’m doing a lot better now. I don’t want to get into details, but obviously my yearly goals took a fatal hit.

1. Read All of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: 87%

When it was December 1st and I was still somewhere in S, I realized this wasn’t going to happen. I still plan to finish, but without the time crunch.

2. Make a pie once a month: 40%

I was kind of surprised this wasn’t 0%, but I did make a few pies this year, mostly for other people’s events. Most recently, I made a chocolate pumpkin pie when my grandma visited this fall. Adding chocolate to pumpkin isn’t intuitive, but everyone seemed to like the results!

3. Make a new cocktail once a month: 0%

hahano

lulz

4. Get everything currently on my To-Read list off it: 92%

Soooooooo clooooooose. Oh well. I have 8 left. That’s pretty good, considering.

5. Make Dwarf Helms: 100%

Oh yeah, this happened

Oh yeah, this happened

If you’re going to succeed at only one of your goals, it might as well be the most metal. And the one that keeps your face warm.

6. Update my blog at least once a week: 87%

Another that I was SO CLOSE to achieving, until somewhere around November when I started getting lazy.

Total: 68%

Fuck you, 2014. You sucked hardcore, and I’m not sorry to see you die. Bring on 2015!

Previously: 2013 goals

Brewer’s Dictionary: G-M

Okay, so I’ve been really falling behind on posting about Brewer’s. And reading it. I just finished M this morning and it’s already October 27th. Whatever, more than halfway there, I can do this!!! Anyway, here’s what you missed while you were not spending your 2014 reading a reference book:

G

Giotto’s O.The old story goes that the pope, wishing to employ artists from all over Italy, sent a messenger to collect specimens of their work. When the man visited Giotto (c. 1267-1337), the artist paused for a moment from the picture he was working on and with his brush drew a perfect circle on a piece of paper. In some surprise the man returned to the pope, who, appreciating the perfection of Giotto’s artistry and skill by his unerring circle, employed him forthwith.

Goddam. A name given by the French to the English at least as early as the 15th century on account of the favourite oath of the English soldiers. Joan of Arc is reported to have used the word on a number of occasions in contemptuous reference to her enemies.

Grammar. Suetonius writes that Tiberius was rebuked by a grammarian for some verbal slip, and upon a courtier remarking that if the word was not good Latin it would be in future, now that it had received imperial recognition, he was rebuked with the words, Tu enim Caesar civitatem dare potes hominibus, verbis non potes (‘Caesar, you can grant citizenship to men, but not to words’).

Great Bed of Ware. A fourposter bed 11ft square and capable of holding 12 people. It dates from the late 16th century and was formerly at the Saracen’s Head Inn, Ware, Hertfordshire.

Sleeping in style

Sleeping in style

H

Haha. A type of ditch found in the grounds of country houses and perhaps so called from the exclamation of surprise when coming across it or of malicious pleasure when another is seen to fall into it.

I knew what hahas are, but am really gratified to learn that the origin of the name is as silly as you think.

Hats It was a point of principle with the early Quakers not to remove their hat, the usual mark of respect, even in the presence of royalty. The story goes that William Penn once entered the presence of Charles II and kept his hat on, whereupon Charles removed his own hat. ‘Friend Charles,’ said Penn, ‘Why dost thou uncover thy head?’ ‘Friend Penn,’ answered Charles with a smile, ‘it is the custom here that only one person wears his hat in the king’s presence.’

I

I guess there were no standouts under I? I didn’t write anything down.

J

Ditto J. In reality, I think I lost my Brewer’s notebook for a while.

K

I must have found it in time to record this gem of Brewer’s understated sass:

You know something (or) what? I am going to tell you something.

L

One of the best things about Brewer’s is learning interesting word origin stories, like:

Lady: Literally ‘bread kneader’, from Old English.

Or:

in-laws A way of referring to one’s relations by marriage: mother-in-law, brothers-in-law and so on. The law is that of canon law, and it refers to the degrees of affinity within which marriage is allowed or prohibited.

And other times there’s an entry that shows slang has always been cray. I mean, wtf:

Lead apes in hell. The depressing consequence of dying an old maid. Hence ape-leader, an old maid.

Also, folk beliefs are always amazing:

Lick into shape. To make presentable; to mould into a satisfactory condition. The expression derives from the widespread medieval belief that bear cubs are born shapeless and have to be licked into shape by their mothers.

Love spoons. The giving of elaborately carved love spoons by a lover to his lady as a token during courtship was common in 18th-century Wales.

Get with the program, Steven

Get with the program, Steven

M

Apparently Magenta is named after a battle!

Magenta. A brilliant red aniline dye derived from coal tar, named in commemoration of the bloody Battle of Magenta (1859), when the Austrians were defeated by the French and Sardinians. This was just before the dye was discovered.

Milo. A celebrated Greek athlete of Crotona in the late 6th century BC. It is said that he carried through the stadium at Olympia a heifer four years old, and ate the whole of it afterwards. When he was old, he attempted to tear in two an oak tree, but the parts closed upon his hands, and while he was thus held fast he was devoured by wolves.

That escalated quickly.

Mohocks. A class of ruffians who in the 18th century infested the streets of London. They were so called from the Mohawk Indians. One of their ‘new inventions’ was to roll people down Snow Hill in a tub. Another was to overturn coaches on rubbish heaps.

I’m on page 805 of 1298, so only 493 more to go! I can do it!! I’ve just got to believe in myself.

Previously: E and F

July Books

This month I got through 7 books, which means I’m 67% done! Only 32 more to go!

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle

Title: Tequila Mockingbird
Author: Tim Federle
My Rating: 5/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.22/5

This book is full of amazing drink recipes based on literature, most of which are named with amazing puns! Yes!!!

Book of 1000 Days by Shannon Hale

Book of 1000 Days by Shannon Hale

Title: Book of a Thousand Days
Author: Shannon Hale
My Rating: 4/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.94/5

I almost quit this book halfway through, but I’m glad I kept going because it went to a place I did not expect. It’s written from the point of view of a maid, shut up in a tower with her mistress who refused to marry the man her father picked out for her. It reminded me a lot of Mulan, I guess because there’s an invading army led by a total creeper, a lot of assuming false identities, and unconventional uses of power.

Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Title: Notorious Royal Marriages
Author: Leslie Carroll
My Rating: 4/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.90/5

This book was pretty chatty, which I like. I learned some things I didn’t know. I wish it had included even one non-European example. Or that it had included more royals from countries besides England. I know all about that already, thanks.

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Title: 172 Hours on the Moon
Author: Johan Harstad
My Rating: 2/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.61/5

This book is completely ridiculous. Completely. The only reason I gave it a 2 was because the concept of creepy evil doppelgangers is incredibly creepy, whether they are on the moon or otherwise. So, yes, there were one or two parts of this book that definitely creeped me out. But overall it is pretty hilarious bad. NASA decides to send three non-US teenagers to their secret moon base for a publicity stunt, except that the things on the moon that caused the base’s abandonment in the first place are–surprise!–still there and bent on killing everyone. One of the most hilarious things about the book is the author’s stereotypical treatment of teen girls that he never bothers to flesh out fully. “But what would I do on the moon? There’s nowhere to shop!”

It by Stephen King

It by Stephen King

Title: It
Author: Stephen King
My Rating: 1/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.06/5

Some parts of this book were legitimately creepy. I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be, probably because jump scares don’t work as well in literature compared to film. The characters were less like cardboard cutouts than a typical King novel, and I liked the non-chronological storytelling. Unfortunately, I can’t get over the completely random sex scene towards the end where seven 11-year-olds decide to bang in a sewer tunnel they’re supposed to be escaping for vague “This way we’ll always be friends” reasons. And the implication that this was the way the one girl character was able to “save” the others. No thanks forever.

The Ones I Decided Not to Read

Title: The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door
Author: Karen Finneyfrock
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.73/5

Title: Winger
Author: Andrew Smith
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.2/5

Previously: June Books
Next: August Books

June Books

This month I got through 10 books, so I’m 59% done with this project! 39 to go!

Relish by Lucy Knisley

Relish by Lucy Knisley

Title: Relish
Author: Lucy Knisley
Rating: 5/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.89/5

This is a graphic novel/memoir about food adventures that includes recipes!! Delicious recipes! I tried the chocolate chip cookie one and definitely plan to use it again.

I actually checked it out of the library again when I realized I forgot to write down the recipe

I actually checked it out of the library again when I realized I forgot to write down the recipe

The stories in the book are hilarious, the recipes are delicious, and the art is fun. A great book for anyone who loves food!

The Theory of Everything by J. J. Johnson

The Theory of Everything by J. J. Johnson

Title: The Theory of Everything
Author: J.J. Johnson
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.97/5

Even though I rated this one a 4/5 after I read it, I literally remember nothing about it now so maybe it wasn’t as good as I thought. I actually had to look it up again to remember what book it was. Even then, I’m just remembering it as “dead best friend + Christmas tree farm”. Each chapter started with an amazing chart or graph, which is probably why I upped its final score.

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung

Title: Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities
Author: Mike Jung
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.91/5

I read this book while waiting for my car inspection, so it wasn’t really a deep read, but it was okay for what it was: a middle grade novel about a town with a resident super hero and his biggest fanboy. So of course major drama ensues when he discovers the superhero’s secret identity: a girl at his school. I liked the girl power messages (of course).

Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio

Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio

Title: Concierge Confidential
Author: Michael Fazio
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.34/5

I wouldn’t say the writing in this book was particularly strong, but it was interesting to read about funny and ridiculous stories from a concierge’s past. I guess I never really knew the full extent of a concierge’s job, not usually frequenting the kind of hotels that have them. My favorite part was probably his attempts to fill and subsequently clean up a hotel bathtub with liquid chocolate for a guest’s romantic anniversary surprise.

The Ones I Decided Not To Read

Title: Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight
Author: Nick Earls
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.74/5
Why I’m not reading it: This looks like the kind of gimmicky chick lit I would enjoy on a plane, but not enough to ILL.

Title: The Boy Who Sneaks Into My Bedroom Window
Author: Kristy Moseley
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.06/5
Why I’m not reading it: I’m pretty sure this was only on my list because the title reminded me of Clarissa Explains it All. This book could never live up to that expectation.

Title: September Girls
Author: Bennett Madison
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.01/5
Why I’m not reading it: The reviews didn’t sound great after further investigation

Title: Railsea
Author: China Mieville
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.93/5
Why I’m not reading it: I read the first chapter, and decided that I would love this movie, but it ultimately wasn’t worth forcing myself to read the rest of the book. It was more about worldbuilding and spectacle and I need to care about characters first.

Title: In the Garden of Iden
Author: Kage Barker
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.78/5
Why I’m not reading it: Similar to Railsea, the concept the novel is built around is interesting, but the first chapter didn’t grab me.

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.37/5
Why I’m not reading it: I feel like I already know everything about this book.

Previously: May Books
Next: July Books

2014: Halfway Point

Alright, roughly halfway through 2014, so that means it’s time to check in on my goals to see how I’m doing. I’m not looking forward to the brutal truth.

1. Read All of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: 44%

After my initial enthusiasm, my reading pace has definitely flagged. I’ll forget about it for weeks, then freak out and read 20 pages in a day. I’m still on H.

Bring it

I don’t know if this is happening

I have to try harder in the year’s last half!

2. Make a pie once a month: 33%

I’ve actually made more pies since the last time we talked! I think maybe three?

They turned out awesome

And there was pie day of course

Unfortunately, this is one of those goals you can’t catch up on once the month passes.

3. Make a new cocktail once a month: 0%

I can’t drink anymore

whatishappening

So that’s not happening

4. Get everything currently on my “To-Read” list off it: 58%

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

celebration

It’s a slight lead, but I’ll take it

5. Make dwarf helms: 60%

I have literally not touched these since the last time we talked.

6. Update my blog at least once a week: 50%

Suckas

Total: 40%

Sigh

Previously: 2014 Goals
Quarter Quell

Brewer’s E and F

My enthusiasm for reading all of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable has flagged a little bit in the last few months, possibly inevitably. I’m still trying to soldier through. Right now I’m on page 490, in G, and I thought I’d combine my entries on E and F, since E was quite short on its own. Right now I’m 37.75% done with this project, with 808 pages to go. I need to work harder in June to be at 50% by the halfway mark!

Here are some interesting things I read about this time:

The Eagle and the Child: The crest of the Stanley family and the Earls of Derby. The legend is that Sir Thomas Latham, an ancestor of the house, caused his illegitimate son to be placed under the foot of a tree in which an eagle had built its nest. When out walking with his wife, they “accidentally” found the child, which he persuaded her to adopt as their heir.

Because wives are not cool with your bastards, but they are strangely accepting of random eagle-foundlings.

Give us back our eleven days: When England adopted the Gregorian calendar in place of the Julian calendar, eleven days were dropped, 2 September 1752 being followed by 14 September. Many people thought that they were being cheated out of eleven days and also eleven days’ pay. Hence the popular cry: “Give us back our eleven days!”

And you bitch about daylight saving time!

The F section has a 3 page long list summarizing famous fakes and forgeries, all of which are really interesting. The ones I like best have motivations other than making money, like:

The Ireland forgeries: William Henry Ireland (1777-1835)… came out with two “lost” Shakespeare plays: Vortigern and Rowena and Henry II… His motive appears to have been a craving to secure the admiration of his father, whose antiquarian interests amounted to an obsession.

Piltdown Skull or Piltdown man: By 1912 Charles Darwin and Sir Arthur Smith Woodward had discovered a whole skull… thought to be that of a new genus of man… The hoax, which duped most experts, was apparently planned by William Sollas, Professor of Geology at Oxford, through his dislike of Woodward

The Vermeer forgeries: Hans (Henri) van Meegeren (1889-1947) began his series of brilliant fakes of Dutch masters in 1937… His intention seems to have been to indulge his contempt and hatred of the art critics by a superlative hoax, but the financial success of his first fake led to others, mostly “Vermeers.” Discovery came only in 1945 when Allied commissioners were seeking to restore to their former owners the art treasures that had found their way to Germany during the war. Among Goering’s collection was an unknown Vermeer, The Woman taken in Adultery, and its original vendor was found to be van Meegeren. Sale of such a work of national importance involved a charge of collaboration with the enemy. To escape the heavy penalty, van Meegeren confessed to faking 14 Dutch masterpieces, 9 of which had been sold for a total of 7,167,000 gulden and to prove his story agreed to paint another “old masterpiece” in prison in the presence of experts.

There’s also an awesome 5 page list of Famous Last Words in even tinier type than the rest of the entries. Here are some favorites:

William Hazlitt (1830; English writer) “Well, I’ve had a good life.”

Heinrich Heine (1856; German poet) “God will pardon me, it i His trade.”

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1762; English poet) “It has all been very interesting.”

I was particularly pleased to read this entry about the phrase “Dinna fash yourself,” a favorite of Highland romance novelists:

Dinna fash yerself’! Don’t get excited; don’t get into a state about it. The word is not of Scottish origin, but comes from obsolete French fascher, “to anger.”

Also, a phrase you might use casually has dirty origins:

To fill someone in: To provide them with information… The expression probably derives from the earlier low sense of making a woman pregnant.

Brewer’s is judging you for your slang terms and your knocking people up.

Previously: D
Next: G

May Books!

This month I got through 8 books, so I’m 49% done with this project! Gotta pick up the pace!

To Be Or Not To Be by Ryan North

To Be Or Not To Be by Ryan North

Title: To Be Or Not To Be: A Chooseable Path Adventure
Author: Ryan North
Rating: 5/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.26/5
When it was added to my list: 11/4/2013
Why was it on my list?: Um, did you read that title?

THIS IS A CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BASED ON HAMLET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should buy it right now. The e-book is ridiculously easy to navigate, and the illustrations are amazing. My favorite ending involves becoming a ghost marine biologist. Let’s face it, the other books I read this month really didn’t have a chance of making Top Spot after this.

Hell House by Richard Matheson

Hell House by Richard Matheson

Title: Hell House
Author: Richard Matheson
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.8/5
When it was added to my list: 10/23/2013
Why was it on my list?: A list of good horror stories before last Halloween

I was interested to read this because my only Matheson experience is his seminal vampire/zombie work I Am Legend, which is pretty different than the Will Smith movie of the same name. I like how he tends to write horror in an almost clinical, science fictiony manner, where the “supernatural” elements can be explained by science even as traditional horror tropes are utilized. This is a typical “strangers locked in a haunted house” narrative, which I enjoyed, though like most genre novels, the characters were mostly two-dimensional and I didn’t really care about any of them.

An Exaltation of Larks by Robert Reed

An Exaltation of Larks by Robert Reed

Title: An Exaltation of Larks
Author: Robert Reed
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.49/5
When it was added to my list: 03/09/2010
Why was it on my list?: No idea

This book was way weird. Like to the point where I don’t even really know how to describe it. Here is the first sentence: “Youth is a bird. A simple and vivid wild bird. Quick to anger, and love, and hungry to forget, if only so that it can do everything again for the first time. Yet this is not a time of birds. It is a time of turtles.”

Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber

Title: Easy
Author: Tammara Webber
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.24/5
When it was added to my list: 11/16/2012
Why was it on my list?: Who even knows, that was 2 years ago

I struggled a lot when it came to rating this book, because parts of it are really problematic, but I was still able to enjoy it by purposefully not thinking too hard about it. It’s a fairly typical romance novel about college students, but it also addresses rape frankly and calls out the bullshit victim blaming that so often shrouds the issue on college campuses. I really appreciated that, but found a lot of the main character’s actions surprisingly chill for someone who should be dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Hopefully no one reading this would think there’s something wrong with them if they aren’t ready to fall in love/lust with the next cool, hot dude they meet.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Rating: 2/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.72
When it was added to my list: 1/10/2013
Why was it on my list?: Probably because I was really into reimagined fairy tales in 2013, like everyone else

Ugh, I am so over reimagined fairy tales, and this one gave me nothing special to focus on. The characters ranged from forgettable to annoying.

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by Tam L. Holland

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by Tam L. Holland

Title: The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong
Author: Tam L. Holland
Rating: 2/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.53/5
When it was added to my list: 12/2/2013
Why was it on my list?: A list of notable books out last year

I really wanted to like this one! The plot sounded interesting: after an assignment about making a family tree in school, Vee sends a fake letter to his father, supposedly from his long-lost grandfather in China asking for a family reunion, basically tricking his father into exploring a past he’d left behind. Unfortunately, Vee is completely unlikable. I think the author was going for how teenagers can sometimes be selfish or egotistical, but went too far until I couldn’t understand why any of the other characters would willingly spend time with him. I certainly didn’t want to.

The Ones I Decided Not To Read

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.93/5
When it was added to my list: 10/25/2012
Why was it on my list?: Good YA books published that year?
Why I’m not reading it: No joke, I have checked this book out on THREE separate occasions. The furthest I’ve gotten is Chapter 2. I have no idea why. I can’t tell you anything really wrong with it. I guess it just didn’t grab me, so I’m giving up.

Title: Wildwing
Author: Emily Whitman
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.43/5
When it was added to my list: 6/11/2012
Why was it on my list?: The cover looked really stupid
Why I’m not reading it: I don’t have time to ILL something for a funny cover

Previously: April Book List
Next: June Books

April Book List

This month I knocked off 11 books from my list, so I’m now 41% done with this project! Exciting!

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

Title: All the Truth That’s in Me
Author: Julie Berry
Rating: 5/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.01/5
When it was added to my list: 12/2/2013
Why was it on my list?: I’m sure I read a good review

This historical fiction/mystery is amazing. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but the main character and her best friend disappeared from their village for two years… and then only Judith came back. With her tongue cut out. HOW? WHY? WHO? Can she salvage some kind of life for herself and her family? The answers are not what you think–I tried to guess the mystery behind this book, and was completely wrong multiple times. Surprises are the best!

Paris Out of Hand by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Paris Out of Hand by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Title: Paris Out of Hand
Author: Karen Elizabeth Gordon
Amount Read: All
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.88/5
When it was added to my list: 1/8/2013
Why was it on my list?: I have no idea

This book was beautiful and adorable. It’s a travel guide to Paris featuring surreal, entirely made up hotels, restaurants, and attractions. A hotel run by children, another where the sheets are printed with the day’s newspaper so guests can keep up with the news, a restaurant whose strange meals are prepared by blindfolded chefs. The pages are also beautifully laid out and artistic.

Fat: The Owner's Manual by Ragen Chastain

Fat: The Owner’s Manual by Ragen Chastain

Title: Fat: The Owner’s Manual
Author: Ragen Chastain
Amount Read: All
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.53/5
When it was added to my list: 7/7/2013
Why was it on my list?: I’m a big fan of Ragen’s blog

I’m glad I bought this book because I’m happy to support Ragen Chastain’s work, although I was mostly familiar with everything it contained from reading her blog. Size acceptance and body image issues are two things that have affected my life deeply, and reading Ragen’s work has really helped me focus on my health instead of my appearance. Last year I was working out better and more consistently than any other time in my life and didn’t lose any weight at all. A lot of people might see that as some failure on my part, but I was demonstrably healthier in all real measures of health: strength, stamina, cholesterol, blood pressure, quality of life. This year I’ve lost 50 pounds, and I’ve never felt worse. You can’t know anything about a person’s habits or health just from their appearance, and everyone deserves respect and the right to happiness no matter their size.

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Title: Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia
Author: Jenny Torres Sanchez
Amount Read: All
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.85/5
When it was added to my list: 12/2/2013
Why was it on my list?: A list of best books of 2013

As a senior in high school, Frenchie has a wild night of adventure with the boy she’s had a crush on for years but never really talked to. Then he kills himself the next day. Now it’s the summer after graduation and she has to deal with her own feelings of guilt, anger, depression, and love. Frenchie was a pretty cool main character, but I didn’t find myself caring enough about her emotional struggles to rate this book higher. I like that she had imaginary conversations with Emily Dickinson, though. I think that fact was the reason I marked this one as To Read in the first place.

360 Degrees Longitude by John Higham

360 Degrees Longitude by John Higham

Title: 360 Degrees Longitude
Author: John Higham
Amount Read: About a third
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.95/5
When it was added to my list: 10/29/2013
Why was it on my list?: Recommended to me by GoodReads because I liked One Year Off

Ironically, I stopped reading this book because it was too similar to One Year Off but, I felt, not as good. The author seems kind of smug about a lot of his choices–bragging about how his kids will be cosmopolitan citizens of the world and how they’re biking across Europe instead of taking the train. I don’t know, that was just my impression. I’ve been in kind of a weird mood lately, so I could be wrong.

The Ones I Decided Not To Read:

Title: The Storyteller
Author: Antonia Michaelis
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.14
When it was added to my list: 1/2/2013
Why was it on my list?: It got completely stellar reviews
Why I’m not reading it: All those reviews also say that it is utterly heartbreaking. I don’t really need that right now.

Title: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.92/5
When it was added to my list: 11/16/2012
Why was it on my list?: I liked the first one, Princess Academy
Why I’m not reading it: I felt like the first one wrapped things up pretty well, and didn’t care about the characters enough to start the sequel.

Title: The Last Dragonslayer
Author: Jasper Fforde
GoodReads’ Rating: 3.82
When it was added to my list: 1/2/2013
Why was it on my list?: I’ve liked some of Fforde’s other books
Why I’m not reading it: Jasper Fforde is a tricky writer because I really like his ideas, but I hardly ever care for his writing style. I usually find his main characters unlikable and hard to connect with. Sometimes the cleverness of the world he’s built overrides that concern, but I just couldn’t get in to this one.

Title: Al Capone Does my Homework and Al Capone Shines my Shoes
Author: Gennifer Choldenko
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.02 and 3.96
When they were added to my list: 6/5/2013
Why were they on my list?: I liked the first one
Why I’m not reading them: I didn’t like the first one enough

Title: Renegade Magic
Author: Stephanie Burgis
GoodReads’ Rating: 4.06
When it was added to my list: 12/17/2012
Why was it on my list?: I liked the first one
Why I’m not reading it: I didn’t like it enough

Next: May Books
Previously: March Books

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